“Watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:12).
If not careful, we can easily lose sight of God’s reality and start to think that all we have is the result of our own doing. To not forget—remembering—is an intentional and deliberate action of the will. If we don’t watch ourselves, we begin thinking only of ourselves.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
Consider the significance of these words; that the same power of God that raised Christ from the dead now dwells in us. It means the possibilities of Kingdom life being manifested in and through us are limitless—bound only by our willingness to avail ourselves to Him. As Jesus gave himself fully over to the Father, what if we were to do the same? The world has yet to see it.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see’” (Matthew 11:4).
Many are holding to a form of faith unwittingly linked to their own expectations. When these expectations are not met, doubts and uncertainty arise and, tragically, many will fall away. Such need not be the case. In fact, seasons of doubt can be translated into formative growth, understanding, and enrichment. This is accomplished when we pursue, instead, a faith rooted in the life, ministry, and biblical teachings of Jesus. It’s another reminder as well that, like Jesus, we, too, in the midst of a doubting world, must have a faith that is both evident and audible; that others might see and hear.
“Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else” (Matthew 11:3)?
Questions of doubt and uncertainty about God most often occur in the context of unfulfilled expectations. Through John the Baptist, we are taught a valuable lesson—the Expected One rarely meets human expectations. He didn’t for John and he won’t for you. He accomplishes infinitely more than our finite minds and life experiences could ever imagine.
“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand” (Luke 14:31).
Committing oneself to the life of faith shouldn’t be so much an emotional reaction as it is a thoughtful response. To finish the course, consideration must be given to what one is getting into; the implications; the necessary sacrifices and costs involved. We must constantly recall that the symbol of our faith isn’t a cushion but a cross.
“This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:30).
Finishing well requires a good start. For the life of faith, it abides and endures, only if there has first been a legitimate conversion experience; having become a new creation in Christ Jesus. If there is no new birth, then the actions of church membership, baptism, along with the disciplines of daily bible reading and prayer become nothing more than token religious expressions; boring activities that bear no actual spiritual fruit and eventually lead to a falling away.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Faith and the call to discipleship changes the dynamic of relationships. The strong language utilized by Jesus should be understood in terms of allegiances and loyalties. The love/hate metaphor is a preferring of A over B. Faith even changes the way I relate to myself. Instead of a self-serving existence that characterizes the masses, we separate and distinguish ourselves as disciples by our continuing pursuit of self-sacrifice.